2010 census promotions set to peak this week

ALBANY -- Local officials are ramping up efforts to promote participation in the 2010 census as forms begin reaching local mailboxes.

U.S. Census forms are scheduled to begin arriving in the area this week, which signals the beginning of the end for the Complete Count Committee, which has begun its final, and most hectic, push for participation.

"This is our go time," committee Co-Chair Howard Brown said. "This is the week where we really expect to be peaking in terms of our involvement and exposure because the forms are going out."

The CCC met Monday at the Government Center to discuss its final events and promotional efforts to try and spread the word about the census, which some estimates suggest generates around a $1,200-per-participant impact on local governments and school boards in terms of federal funding.

To help combat the spread of misinformation and to counter popular urban myths about the census centered around privacy concerns and personal visits from census workers, committee members Charlene Glover and the Rev. Theodus Drake have put together a DVD that will be distributed this week in senior centers and churches dispelling some of those notions.

That video is also available at www.albanyherald.com.

The Albany Water, Gas & Light Commission is also sending out 40,000 notices in its bills this month to urge participation in the count.

Similarly, the Dougherty County School System has agreed to send flyers home with report cards this week, which is estimated to reach roughly 16,000 households. The system is also uploading a short telephone message that will go out via its ParentLink system this week.

The census -- which is conducted in full once every 10 years -- is the measuring stick by which the federal and state governments determine funding formulas for schools, community development programs and other policies. It also determines how many representatives, both in Congress and at the State House, communities have.

Census officials also announced the location of certain areas around town for those who don't receive forms in the mail.

Questionnaire Assistance Centers and stations offering forms will be set up across town for those who either don't receive a form or who have a post office box.

The group is also working with the Albany-Dougherty Coalition to End Homelessness to try and get an accurate count of the area's homeless population.